IL conservationists form taskforce to save Monarch butterfly - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

IL conservationists form taskforce to save Monarch butterfly

Source: Kenneth Dwain Harrelson Source: Kenneth Dwain Harrelson
SPRINGFIELD, IL (KFVS) -

There is a new effort in Illinois to save the Monarch butterfly.

Populations of the species have decreased as much as 90 percent in the last 20 years, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

The IDNR hosted a summit in Springfield on September 9 to talk recovery for the iconic species.

“A first step is to identify ongoing monarch conservation efforts so that we can better coordinate among them to create more butterfly habitat where it is needed,” Ann Holtrop, chief of the IDNR Division of Natural Heritage, said. “A survey has been developed to capture all of the diverse activities that are occurring for monarch butterfly conservation throughout the state.”

At the summit, organizers discussed results from the survey and formed groups as well as a ‘taskforce’ on future efforts.

Matt Lechner with the Shawnee National Forest represented the Shawnee National Forest at the summit.

“There are around 3,500 acres that we manage as open land, and those are prime for putting the right types of plants in that will help.” Lechner said.

The forest is a regular stop on the creature’s 3,500 mile annual trip from Canada to Mexico.

Lechner said changes in agriculture practices and deforestation along that path are partially to blame for the decline.

As of this year, the Monarch butterfly is not considered an endangered species, but it is in the process of earning that distinction. The U.S, Fish and Wildlife service is currently performing a study to make that determination.

The USDA reports the population can't survive without the milkweed plant. The decline in milkweed is "highly correlated with the adoption of herbicide-tolerant genetically modified corn and soybeans," according to research recently published in scientific reports at nature.com.

That plant is a circle of life for the Monarch; the caterpillars feed on milkweed and it's also where the butterflies lay their eggs. 

Conservationists say breeding grounds for the Monarch can be boosted by planting native milkweed plants. A partnership between the USDA and a non-profit group has already produced more than 35 million milkweed seeds.

MonarchWatch.org has information on how you can help the Monarch butterflies survive to fly another year. 

Download the KFVS News app: iPhone | Android

Copyright 2016 KFVS. All rights reserved.

  • Heartland NewsMore>>

  • Wanted White County, IL inmates still on the run

    Wanted White County, IL inmates still on the run

    Tuesday, June 19 2018 9:09 PM EDT2018-06-20 01:09:02 GMT
    Zachery Shock (left) and Johnny Tipton (right) are still on the run. (Source: White County Sheriff's Department)Zachery Shock (left) and Johnny Tipton (right) are still on the run. (Source: White County Sheriff's Department)

    White and Hamilton County deputies and state police were all still on the lookout, but no new clues have surfaced.

    White and Hamilton County deputies and state police were all still on the lookout, but no new clues have surfaced.

  • Perry County, MO police using social media to catch more crooks

    Perry County, MO police using social media to catch more crooks

    Tuesday, June 19 2018 8:28 PM EDT2018-06-20 00:28:23 GMT
    Perry County, Missouri Sheriff Gary Schaaf says posting mugshots to their Jail Division Facebook page is a quick way to get information on wanted suspects and make their arrests public. (Source: KFVS)Perry County, Missouri Sheriff Gary Schaaf says posting mugshots to their Jail Division Facebook page is a quick way to get information on wanted suspects and make their arrests public. (Source: KFVS)

    Perry County, Missouri Sheriff Gary Schaaf says posting mugshots to their Jail Division Facebook page is a quick way to get information on wanted suspects and make their arrests public.

    Perry County, Missouri Sheriff Gary Schaaf says posting mugshots to their Jail Division Facebook page is a quick way to get information on wanted suspects and make their arrests public.

  • Sen. Duckworth reacts to U.S. leaving U.N. Human Rights Council

    Sen. Duckworth reacts to U.S. leaving U.N. Human Rights Council

    Tuesday, June 19 2018 8:25 PM EDT2018-06-20 00:25:21 GMT
    U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) released the following statement in response to the U.S. leaving the United Nations Human Rights Council. (Source: Office of Sen. Tammy Duckworth)U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) released the following statement in response to the U.S. leaving the United Nations Human Rights Council. (Source: Office of Sen. Tammy Duckworth)
    U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) released the following statement in response to the U.S. leaving the United Nations Human Rights Council. (Source: Office of Sen. Tammy Duckworth)U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) released the following statement in response to the U.S. leaving the United Nations Human Rights Council. (Source: Office of Sen. Tammy Duckworth)

    U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) released the following statement in response to the U.S. leaving the United Nations Human Rights Council.

    U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) released the following statement in response to the U.S. leaving the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Powered by Frankly